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Old Tue Feb 08, 2011, 05:10pm
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 178
Football to Basketball Transition

I joined my local IAABO board in November. Iíve been reading this forum a lot since then. Very informative and entertaining, thanks!

The trickiest subject to read about is dealing with coachesí bad behavior. Iím only working youth games and freshman games right now, so itís not an issue yet for me.

But Iím concerned that my background as a football official (11 years; started college last year) will be something I'll need to ďovercomeĒ on the hardcourt.

(Iím a linesman in football. So Iíve always got the coaches right behind me. They can ask for explanations, question calls, yell about calls, throw tantrums about calls, etc. )

Now, Iím certainly not arguing that basketball should be more like football. But for me, Iím conditioned to have a high (ok, stratospheric) threshold for coach complaints. And when I read some of the Technical or no? threads, my first thought is that the described behavior isnít so bad.

So my question, is: did anyone else here start in football and go through a similar adjustment?

I imagine doing more games and working up to higher levels, learning from the veteran officials will go a long way towards helping with this...But does anyone have any specific "football deprogramming" tips?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old Tue Feb 08, 2011, 09:21pm
TODO: creative title here
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,250
I also started in football, and took up basketball after a few years of doing football exclusively.

The main differences:
Football officials are taught to stay stationary as much as possible, to let the play develop in front of them. Basketball officials are taught to be moving almost continuously, a-la "move to improve".

Football officiating emphasizes slow whistles (spit your whistle out after the snap), and that there's no such thing as a "late flag". In basketball, if you don't whistle that traveling violation or foul within a half-second of it's occurrence, and you're probably going to have to let it go. Accordingly, your whistle is in your mouth almost all the time.

Some things do cross over from football to basketball: dealing with coaches, professional appearance, court/field presence, etc.

On the specifics of dealing with bad coach behavior, I think a lot of the difference has to do with the environment. In football, you're outdoors, 50% of the time the coach isn't going to be right next to you (due to the sideline restrictions), one coach is always going to be on the other side of the field, over 50 yards away, and spectators are well away from the playing area. So it's a lot easier to "not hear" and "ignore" some of the whining/complaining/antics.

In basketball, both coaches are within 50 feet of you almost all game long, you're in an enclosed confines of a gymnasium, and spectators might be as close as 3 feet from the playing area. So there's a lot more coach-official and official-spectator interaction. More potential interaction = less leeway bad behavior.

YMMV, of course.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old Tue Feb 08, 2011, 11:41pm
Do not give a damn!!
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: On the border
Posts: 29,122
It is pretty simple. Football will help you with your rules knowledge in basketball and basketball you will learn better judgment in football.

The culture is different in basketball. We do not put up with all that crap officials like to in football. For one we are not 50 feet away from stands and everything you say on a basketball court can be much easily heard. I can see how you can say it is not that bad because everyone did not hear him call you out. In football I can say things back and no one will hear me. Not so much in basketball. Even as a football official there is so much I will take. I will draw a line in the sand quickly. Nothing wrong with questions, but they are not going to act like this is the NFL either. That is just me and it works well. HS and even college are a little different. Then again in football we have more time to talk to coaches and basketball we hardly have time to say much of anything unless it is an extended dead ball.

"When the phone does not ring, the assignor is calling."

Charles Michael ďMickĒ Chambers (1947-2010)
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old Wed Feb 09, 2011, 12:30am
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 14,612
In college football, you pretty much have to put up with a lot from coaches. I have a friend who is a D1 referee in a BCS conference, who has worked 3 bowl games and the conference championship game this year. I've seen D1 coaches chew him up. And although he stood his ground, there was no flag.

Same guy will ring your a$$ up in a HS basketball game as quickly as anyone I know.

Now, do you need to have the same mentality? Perhaps not but you do need to know that the same behavior that's tolerated in a college football game should not be condoned in a HS basketball game. Your expectations need to be different.

I offer a few items:

1- I don't tolerate assistant coaches yelling, running their mouth and jumping up when they don't like a call. Assistant coaches are there to coach. They have no business officiating and most officials I know have zero tolerance for them. I have no problem answering a question that's asked in a respectful manner but that's where it ends. That maybe different than what you tolerate on the sideline during the fall.

2- I use this philosphy with regard to head coaches.

If he's out of the coaching box, I'll politely put him back in it. If he's rolling his arms with a traveling call, I'll ignore him. If he's running his mouth, I'll tell him when I've had enough.

If he's out of the box and running his mouth, WHACK!
If he's out of the box and officiating, WHACK!
If he's running his mouth and officiating, WHACK!

IOW, if he's guilty of one sin, I can overlook that. But if he's guilty of two, that's too much sinning. WHACK!

3 - Talk to me they way you want me to talk to you. Ask me questions and I'll answer when it's appropriate to do so. I don't respond to statements. And if I tell you I've heard enough, then by God I've heard enough.
" cool as the other side of the pillow." - Stuart Scott

"You should never be proud of doing the right thing." - Dean Smith
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